What Causes Kidney Malfunction
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet . A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failuredialysis treatmentsmay be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.1
How Will Kidney Failure Affect How I Feel About My Life
Coping with kidney failure can be stressful. Some of the steps that you are taking to manage your kidney disease are also healthy ways to cope with stress. For example, physical activity and sleep help reduce stress. Learn more about healthy ways to cope with stress.
Depression is common among people with a chronic, or long-term, illness. Depression can make it harder to manage your kidney disease. Ask for help if you feel down. Your health care team can help you. Talking with a support group, clergy member, friend, or family member wholl listen to your feelings may help.
Treatment for depression is available.
Will I Need To Take Medicines Or Follow A Special Diet
Most likely. Your healthcare team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your treatment plan may include taking medicines, restricting salt, limiting certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need treatment for any other health problems you may have, including high blood pressure or diabetes.
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Acute Kidney Failure Diagnosis
Your doctor will start with a physical exam. Then, theyâll order tests of your blood, urine, and kidneys.
Blood tests. These measure substances in your blood.
- Creatinine is a waste product in your blood thatâs made by muscle activity. Normally, itâs removed from your blood by your kidneys. But if your kidneys stop working, your creatinine level rises.
- Urea nitrogen is another waste product in your blood. Itâs created when protein from the foods is broken down. Like creatinine, your kidneys remove this from your blood. When your kidneys stop working, your urea nitrogen levels rise.
- Serum potassium is a substance found in your blood that balances water levels in your bloodstream. Kidney disease can cause either high or low potassium levels.
- Serum sodium is another substance in your blood that helps with fluid balance in your body. High sodium levels can mean that your kidneys arenât working properly because your body canât get rid of the right amount of sodium.
Urine tests. Your doctor will check your pee for blood and protein. Theyâll also look for certain electrolytes. The results help your doctor understand whatâs causing your kidney failure.
Urine output measurement. This measures how much urine you pass in 24 hours. You will get a container to take home, pee into, and then return to the lab after a full 24 hours. It can help your doctor determine why youâre having kidney failure.
Upset Stomach Nausea Vomiting
Why this happens:
A severe build-up of wastes in the blood can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.
What patients said:
I had a lot of itching, and I was nauseated, throwing up all the time. I couldn’t keep anything down in my stomach.
When I got the nausea, I couldn’t eat and I had a hard time taking my blood pressure pills.
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Kidney Failure From Sepsis
Kidney failure is very common in sepsis, but it can be reversed most of the time with the proper treatment of sepsis. If you would like to understand what sepsis is, please read this article: Low blood pressure and a fever, think sepsis. In summary, sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication from an infection where the body can get overwhelmed and crash down.
Patients with severe sepsis and kidney failure may need intensive care in the ICU. The treatment is focused on treating the infection and supporting the body to maintain good blood circulation. If a good blood circulation with normal blood pressure is restored, the kidneys start to recover, and the kidney failure can be ultimately reversed back to normal.
What Health Problems Can People With Kidney Disease Develop
Kidney disease can lead to other health problems. Your health care team will work with you to help you avoid or manage:
High blood pressure. High blood pressure can be both a cause and a result of kidney disease. High blood pressure damages your kidneys, and damaged kidneys dont work as well to help control your blood pressure. With kidney failure, your kidneys cant get rid of extra water. Taking in too much water can cause swelling, raise your blood pressure, and make your heart work harder.
Blood pressure-lowering medicines, limiting sodium and fluids in your diet, staying physically active, managing stress, and quitting smoking can help you control your blood pressure.
Heart disease. Kidney disease and heart disease share two of the same main causes: diabetes and high blood pressure. People with kidney disease are at high risk for heart disease, and people with heart disease are at high risk for kidney disease.
The steps that you take to manage your kidney disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose will also help you prevent heart attacks or strokes.
Anemia. When kidneys are damaged, they dont make enough erythropoietin , a hormone that helps make red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body. When you have anemia, some organssuch as your brain and heartmay get less oxygen than they need and may not function as well as they should. Anemia can make you feel weak and lack energy.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms
People with kidney failure will have several symptoms of the disease. Nonetheless, these symptoms will vary depending on the stage of kidney failure. The most common symptoms are the following:
- A decrease in urine output, although sometimes urine output remains . Typically people say that they are urinating far less than they used to.
- Fluid retention causes swelling in legs, ankles, and feet. This is due to the kidneys inability to eliminate water waste.
- Shortness of breath
- Seizures or coma in severe cases
What Do The Kidneys Do
The kidneys have several jobs. One of the most important is helping your body eliminate toxins. The kidneys filter your blood and send waste out of your body in urine.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They sit under your ribcage, toward your back. Most people have two working kidneys, but people can live well as long as at least one is working correctly.
When the kidneys dont work effectively, waste products build up in your body. If this happens, you might feel sick. In the most serious situations, kidney failure can be life-threatening. However, many people can manage kidney failure with the right treatment.
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About Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood as well as they should. Because of this, excess fluid and waste from blood remain in the body and may cause other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.
15% of US adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, that is about 37 million people.
Some other health consequences of CKD include:
- Anemia or low number of red blood cells
- Increased occurrence of infections
- Low calcium levels, high potassium levels, and high phosphorus levels in the blood
- Loss of appetite or eating less
- Depression or lower quality of life
CKD has varying levels of seriousness. It usually gets worse over time though treatment has been shown to slow progression. If left untreated, CKD can progress to kidney failure and early cardiovascular disease. When the kidneys stop working, dialysis or kidney transplant is needed for survival. Kidney failure treated with dialysis or kidney transplant is called end-stage renal disease . Learn more about ESRD.
Not all patients with kidney disease progress to kidney failure. To help prevent CKD and lower the risk for kidney failure, control risk factors for CKD, get tested yearly, make lifestyle changes, take medicine as needed, and see your health care team regularly.
How Is It Diagnosed
Your doctor will do regular blood tests to check on how you’re doing. The tests help your doctor know if you need any changes in your treatment. Blood tests measure:
- Levels of waste products and electrolytes in your blood that should be removed by your kidneys. These include creatinine, blood urea nitrogen , potassium, and calcium.
- Your red blood cells, to see if you have anemia of chronic kidney disease. Your doctor can use repeat complete blood cell count tests to see if anemia treatment is working.
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Cytokine Storms Can Destroy Kidney Tissue
The bodys reaction to the infection may be responsible as well. The immune response to the new coronavirus can be extreme in some people, leading to what is called a cytokine storm.
When that happens, the immune system sends a rush of cytokines into the body. Cytokines are small proteins that help the cells communicate as the immune system fights an infection. But this sudden, large influx of cytokines can cause severe inflammation. In trying to kill the invading virus, this inflammatory reaction can destroy healthy tissue, including that of the kidneys.
What Should I Eat When I Have Kidney Failure
Dialysis helps to do some of the work that your kidneys did when they were healthy, but it cannot do everything that healthy kidneys do. Therefore, even when you are on dialysis, you will need to limit what and how much you eat and drink. Your diet needs may depend on the type of dialysis you are on and your treatment schedule. Learn more about the diet for living with kidney failure.
Learn what healthy eating means for people in every stage of kidney disease, including those on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant. Find recipes on Kidney Kitchen.
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Prognosis For Kidney Failure
Even though a dog with renal failure very likely exhibits symptoms when a good part of damage has been done, owners still play a vital role in early detection. The prognosis of a dog affected by renal failure is based upon the level of kidney damage, identification of the underlying cause, and application of supportive treatment such as the use of subcutaneous or IV fluid which can help flush metabolic waste products out.
Because this condition is very debilitating and can also be life threatening, it is best if the owner would focus primarily on preventing renal failure from happening in the first place, rather than detecting the signs and symptoms later on.
Causes Of Chronic Renal Failure
- A prolonged urinary tract obstruction or blockage.
- Alport syndrome. An inherited disorder that causes deafness, progressive kidney damage, and eye defects.
- Nephrotic syndrome. A condition that has several different causes. Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by protein in the urine, low protein in the blood, high cholesterol levels, and tissue swelling.
- Polycystic kidney disease. A genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.
- Cystinosis. An inherited disorder in which the amino acid cystine accumulates within specific cellular bodies of the kidney, known as lysosomes.
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Does Kidney Failure Cause Pain
Kidney failure in itself does not cause pain. However, the consequences of kidney failure may cause pain and discomfort in different parts of the body.
Normal functioning kidneys filter amyloid from the blood stream. In kidney failure amyloid proteins in the blood rise, and can separate and clump together forming amyloid deposits into a variety of tissue and organs, including joints and tendons. This can result in symptoms of:
- Patients who are on dialysis may have discomfort when on the dialysis machine.
Underlying chronic disease pain
- Pain is often a consequence of the underlying chronic disease that led to kidney failure, for example:
- People with poorly controlled diabetes may develop diabetic neuropathy pain.
- People who have peripheral vascular disease also may have pain in their extremities, and may develop claudication .
Coronavirus: Kidney Damage Caused By Covid
COVID-19 the disease caused by the coronavirus thats led to the global pandemic is known to damage the lungs. But, as more people become infected, more understanding of the disease emerges.
Doctors and researchers are finding that this coronavirus officially called SARS-CoV-2can also cause severe and lasting harm in other organs, including the heart and kidneys. C. John Sperati, M.D., M.H.S., an expert in kidney health, discusses how the new coronavirus might affect kidney function as the illness develops and afterward as a person recovers.
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Kidney Failure From Bleeding
Significant bleeding within a small period of time almost always results in some degree of kidney failure. Examples of significant bleeding that can cause reversible kidney failure are: excessive bleeding during surgery, bleeding from trauma, internal bleeding inside the stomach or intestines, an unstoppable nose bleed, heavy bleeding after childbirth, etc. The degree of kidney failure is proportional to the amount of blood loss. These types of bleeding almost always make you end up in the hospital. The good news is that most kidney failures from bleeding can be reversed with treatment. All we need to do to reverse the kidney failure in this situation is stop the bleeding and transfuse blood as required. Once the blood volume is properly restored, kidneys start to function normally.
How Is Kidney Failure Treated
Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys function as long as possible.
Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:
- Routine blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:
- Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood .
- In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
- Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
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Should I Keep Taking My High Blood Pressure Medication
Hypertension is a common cause of kidney problems. Hypertension damages the blood vessels of the kidneys and affects their ability to filter the blood. Kidneys also help to regulate blood pressure, so kidney damage can make hypertension worse. Over time, hypertension can cause kidney failure.
If you are living with hypertension, you might take medication for the problem. You may be reading news reports questioning the safety of taking certain prescription medicines to manage their condition: ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers .
Sperati says that patients should stay on their medications and discuss concerns with their doctors.
Right now there are two sides debating this issue. One side is saying, based on animal studies, that these medications might be harmful, increasing risk of infection. The other says these same drugs might protect against lung damage and other problems associated with COVID-19.
But all of the professional societies have published articles recommending that you not change your medications, he says. Staying the course with your prescriptions, he adds, can lower the risk of heart and kidney damage from unchecked high blood pressure.
Sperati does recommend that patients with kidney issues stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can raise blood pressure and increase fluid volume in the body, which puts strain on the kidneys.
When Should I Call The Doctor
A nephrologist receives special training in kidney evaluation and treatment. You may benefit from a kidney specialists expert opinion if:
- You have trouble keeping your blood pressure levels in a normal range, even with medication.
- Your blood sugar levels fluctuate widely.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/10/2018.
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What Treatments Are Available For Kidney Failure
There are two treatments for kidney failure dialysis and kidney transplant. The dialysis treatments or transplanted kidney will take over some of the work of your damaged kidneys and remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. This will make many of your symptoms better.
- Two different types of dialysis can be done hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Both remove waste products and extra fluid from your blood.
- A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney in your body.